The Purfleet Heritage Centre is housed within Magazine No.5 of what was from 1760, the Royal Magazine for Gunpoweder situated on the banks of the River of Thames.

In 1992 local resident Alan Gosling became interested in the military history of the building known as No.5 and its social significance to the area. Along with family and other local volunteers a plan was put into effect to save the building and to use it as a Heritage Centre. These proposals together with a business plan were taken to Thurrock Council who own the site and were accepted at a full Council meeting. It was in 1994 that the Purfleet Heritage and Military Centre took charge of the building as an independent organisation. Run entirely by volunteers the Centre now have long lease, is a Registered Charity and principally self-funding. When the building was handed over it was a Scheduled Ancient Monument Grade II and was on the at risk register. Thanks to Thurrock Council replacing the Welsh slate roof in 1996 and the trustees together with the volunteers of the Centre it is now a SAM Grade I and has been removed from the at risk register.